>>1989 – History


Gayna, still ‘Flo at that point,  and Robin Surtees, decided to disband Shiny Two Shiny and go their separate ways. ‘Flo’ was offered, via Red Flame, a deal with Virgin 10 records, and duly recorded a 7″ and 12″ single,  ‘Higher’/ ‘Moment to moment’ which had been intended for release in Spring 1985 on Virgin 10.

Sadly, in what was to be the first of many similar misfortunes, the two companies involved got into a dispute (concerning a different act) and the single was not released. Red Flame took the decision to release the single on its own label and it had a delayed release in the summer of 1985.

Although this again had daytime Radio 1 airplay, various problems affected availability and distribution.

She played live several times, notably with an all-female one, ‘Flo and the Frets’, comprising seven members including a four-piece brass section at the first ‘International Womens’ Festival’ in Liverpool in 1986.

‘Flo’ went on to be funded to record demos for London records, and the labels RCA, Polydor and WEA, who offered her a development contract. The week she was due to sign this, the head of A&R there, who secured the deal, left to  become a director of another music company. Eventually, although there had been a great deal of interest to begin with, delays and difficulties meant that this dissipated and ‘Flo’ ended up with no contract.

Gayna Rose Madder

In 1987 ‘Flo’ changed her name (legally) to Gayna Rose Madder. She had already decided to adopt another given, name ‘Gayna’, as her first, but after racking her brain for weeks to try to think of a surname, she had a dream in which she was interviewed by Terry Wogan. In it he asked ‘Why did you change your name to Rose Madder?’

She responded ‘It was a pigment of my imagination’ and woke up with the words still on her lips. As this had been a favourite paintbox colour she decided fate had intervened. She liked the fact also that the three words made a sentence expressing a sentiment with which she identified. ‘Flo Sullivan’ was no more; a new era began.

Gayna had several bands during this period including three different four and five piece bands, and again another seven piece band with three brass players. They played live around the North West and in London.

She struck a deal with Uglyman records, who had recently enjoyed success with Black’s ‘Wonderful life’, and a 7″and 12″ single, ‘Are you in pain?’ b/w ‘Fading’ with ‘The picture’ as a bonus track on the 12″,  was released as Ugly 4 in 1987. Yet again this attracted some rave reviews in the music press; yet again, distribution problems (the distributors went bust just after the single’s release) meant the single was virtually unavailable, just at the wrong time, when it was receiving airplay and attracting press attention. Bad luck had intervened yet again.

A year later she set up an independent label with another musician who had his own band and had also played in two incarnations of her ensembles. This was called ‘Destiny Angel’ (after a favourite Captain Scarlet figure) and in 1989 issued a first release, ‘Only time’ by clairvoyant Paula Paradaema (it’s a long but interesting story!)

The second release was a 7″ Gayna Rose Madder single, ‘Ties’/ ‘Bigger than a dream’ . A distribution deal was set up and copies of the recording sent out for review. But ill fate was shortly to strike again.

First, the metal master was lost (from which the vinyl singles were to be pressed) and had to be re-made at a considerable extra cost. Secondly, favourable reviews appeared in 3 high-end music publications, just as  another independent distributor, the one to whom the label was contracted, (unbelievably)went into liquidation.

The final blow occurred when the warehouse containing stocks of the records burned down together with all its contents. There was no way the label could afford to re-press the records and re-print the sleeves.

Gayna continued playing live with her band for some months afterwards, even doing a short tour of Germany.

But the bad luck had taken its toll. The following year, 1990, she was to leave Liverpool and move to London.